Bio: Marian Pellegrin Merritt writes stories that blend her love of the mountains with her deep Southern roots which leads to her tagline, Where the Bayous Meet the Mountains. She is an author and freelance writer with over ten years experience. Her work has appeared in newspapers, magazines, and online websites and garnered a first place award in ACFW's Genesis contest.
Marian’s published books include: Deep Freeze Christmas, A Cajun Christmas Miracle, and Southern Fried Christmas.
She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in physical therapy and an accounting certificate from the
This University of South Alabama Louisiana native writes from the Northwest Colorado home she shares with her husband and a
very spoiled Labradoodle.
Welcome, Marian. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
There is a minimal amount of myself in my characters, usually subtle shades of my personality and my faith materialize in each one.
What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
I really had to think about this one. It's probably one of those things you intentionally try to forget!
While in gross anatomy during Physical Therapy school, I had two children and lived forty minutes from school. One night, while the kids were with hubby, I stayed late at school in the cadaver lab which was in the basement. It was a Friday night so my younger classmates were out. I was alone with ten cadavers on tables and several in the storage locker in the corner of the room.
I got settled with my books and started reviewing muscle groups when I heard this tap, tap, tap coming from the locker where the pending bodies for the next class were stored. Determined to ignore the sound, I focused on my studies and tried to memorize muscle insertions. Tap, tap, tap.
I couldn't ignore the sound and the fact that I was alone in the basement. By this time, trying to learn or memorize anything was out of the question. I quickly gathered my books and rushed out. As I exited the building, a
Mobile thunderstorm raged. It was then I
realized the sound I'd heard was water dripping along the side of the building.
No matter, that was the last late-night lab excursion for me.
When did you first discover that you were a writer?
I've always loved to read and imagined as a small child what it would feel like to create a story that other people read. But I realized my writing desire in high school when our assignment was to create a story similar to the great works in English literature. My story was a Cajun version of Beowulf - mine was titled Pyowolf about a Cajun who crosses the great swamps of
I got an A and a resounding round of applause from my classmates.
Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
My favorite is Women's Fiction, but I do enjoy some Romance, Suspense, and select Thrillers.
How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
I live in a very small mountain town where no one gets in a hurry. We live fifty miles from the nearest Walmart or other large stores with nothing between but open area, deer, elk, antelope, and other wildlife. Sometimes it's frustrating to be so far from resources, but most of the time, I revel in the quiet, slower pace. But whether living in this small slow-paced town or in a fast-paced big city, my quiet time with the Lord keeps me from being sucked into the world's chaos.
How do you choose your characters’ names?
Usually, my characters come to me first before any plot. I do an extensive character interview and learn their entire history before I know their name. As I start to write the story, a name will come to me. Sometimes it's from the other character. Sometimes I'll scour websites looking for unique names once I know my character's history and personality. In some instances, I've recruited my reader team, Lagniappe Literary Partners or my Facebook Group – Marian P. Merritt's Readers Group to help me find just the right name.
What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
Graduating with a degree in physical therapy at thirty-six with two children is one accomplishment I'm proud of. It was not an easy task. Getting published after turning fifty is another thing I'm happy to have accomplished. But I believe having strong relationships with my children, my husband, and my Lord are the things that are much more important and give me the greatest joy.
If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
An eagle. I love how they soar and glide through the air, and I'm always fascinated with their majesty while sitting on a tree limb or fence post. We have many in the wilderness near our town so it's always a treat to spot one or two when out on trails or even on the drive to Walmart!
What is your favorite food?
Shrimp. I'm like Bubba in Forrest Gump. I like boil shrimp, fried shrimp, Shrimp scampi, Shrimp Gumbo...well, you get the idea.
A woman after my own heart. What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
When I first learned to write, I fell into the perpetual loop of constant rewrite. Subsequently, it took three years to complete my first novel. Now, I've learned to plow through and get the first draft complete before starting edits. I think it's as simple as that I've learned to trust God with my writing.
Tell us about The Vigil.
This Women's Fiction deals with forgiveness, acceptance, and faith that God's plans are perfect. Here's the blurb:
Cheryl Broussard made two vows: She'd never fall for an abusive man, and she'd never return to her
hometown. But she's learned all too well the lesson of never-say-never. Now,
back in Bijou Bayou after fleeing from an abusive boyfriend, Cheryl finds work
as a Hospice nurse. While reading a dying patient's Korean War love letters,
family secrets shatter Cheryl's beliefs about her family and herself and shed
light on the reason she fled her hometown. When the Broussard family secrets
are revealed, can Cheryl deal with the truth and accept the blessing of a
second chance for relationships with her family, old friends, and with the God
she never really knew?
This book is set in south
so there's a lot of food and southern settings. The Pinterest board I set up
has the recipes of the food mentioned in the book and pictures similar to the
Pinterest Board for this book: https://www.pinterest.com/mpmerritt/the-vigil/
Please give us the first page of the book.
"Jarrod, stop! You're hurting me."
My boyfriend tightened his grip and twisted the skin on my wrist. "Cheryl, I've told you before about flirting with Barry."
"I wasn't flirting."
Another twist and then a slap to my jaw. My head shook from the force. He'd never hit me before. Bile rose and scorched my throat. Repulsion hit like a tidal wave while the ticking clock on the wall blurred, doubled, then returned to normal. Like the ticking clock, the repulsion remained. He’d hit me. He had actually hit me.
"Don't lie to me." His eyes bored into me like darting lasers. "No girlfriend of mine is going to embarrass me like that and get away with it." Before I could respond, the second strike followed in the same location along my jaw. My pulse raced. A scream I struggled to contain escaped, fueling his anger.
Something deep within awakened. I’d become the thing I’d detested.
No. He wouldn't do this to me. I wouldn’t be that woman. Couldn’t be that woman.
I can’t wait to get my copy. How can readers find you on the Internet?
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Marian-P-Merritt-Author/395714820494287?ref=hl
Twitter: https://twitter.com/MarianPMerrittGoodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4429639.Marian_P_Merritt
Thank you, Marian, for sharing this new book with us. I know my readers will want to read it as much as I do.
Readers, here are links to the book. By using one when you order, you help support this blog.
The Vigil - Christianbook.com
The Vigil - Kindle
(The Vigil is also available in paperback on Amazon.)
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